It’s that time of year……time for spring sports galore! Whether it’s lacrosse, soccer, track, swimming or frisbee, it’s a busy time of year for parents and kids alike. At the Center for Therapy at Littleton Adventist Hospital, we typically see an increase in musculoskeletal injuries and stress fractures this time of year. Some important things to remember as you head out to those spring activities:
- Ease into new activities: Starting a new activity puts new stresses on the body. It is important to gradually increase activity levels and to plan rest periods during practices and games to reduce the risk of injury.
- Stretching- Stretching after warming up is one of the most important, and commonly neglected, things we should do. After you have warmed up your muscles for several minutes, take time to stretch. It is important to stretch all the major muscles groups you will use during your sport- hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles, hip flexors, chest and arms.
- Stay hydrated- Water and electrolyte loss during physical activity can result in muscle cramping and dehydration. Remember to consume water and/or low sugar sports drinks during activity. A 20-ounce water bottle should do the trick for activities under 60 minutes. For longer efforts, aim to sip 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes to stay properly hydrated.
- Sun protection- Always apply broad spectrum sunscreen generously 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply regularly, especially after exercising and swimming. Remember to protect ears, noses, lips and the tops of feet. Sunglasses are important protection from UV rays which can lead to cataracts later in life. Add a hat and cover up for additional protection. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection.
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